While Craigslist has, for now at least, blocked its adult services section, frequenters of escorts in New York City will find no shortage of alternatives online to find paid companionship. And therein lays the crux of the problem for those advocating the shutdown of Craigslist’s adult services section.
Citing protection for children and victims of sex trafficking, attorney generals from seventeen states sent a late summer open letter to Craigslist’s CEO asking that the company shut down the portion of its site that advertises so-called adult services.
In major metropolitan areas such as New York City, however, it seems unlikely that disappearance of adult services on Craigslist will have any effect at all. While Craigslist cost nothing to use for those looking for escorts, and most of the other services entail a fee for both the escort listed as well as the potential ‘john’, for those looking to participate in the world’s oldest profession as either a consumer or provider, a fee will likely not stand in the way.
The legality of advertising escort services is murky at best. There is nothing illegal about paying for the time of somebody else. There is nothing illegal about paying for companionship. Paying for sex, however, is illegal in New York City. Despite consistent attempts to eliminate prostitution in New York City, however, few believe that totally eliminating it will ever happen.
In fact, if those who used to use Craigslist simply go to other websites, they will find many more features than the bare bones Craigslist offered. The ability to search on specific ‘types’ of escorts based on hair color, ethnicity and body type, and the ability to actually see pictures of prospective escorts across different agencies and independent providers, may ironically, encourage the use of escorts more than an unverified and featureless description on Craigslist would have.
New York City contains many stark contradictions when it comes to sex and moral values. A fairly liberal city from a social perspective and one that for years was considered full of sin and vice, the city has actually fairly stringent laws and regulations when it comes to things such as its strip clubs. Even New York’s swinger joints, while plentiful, tend to be more on the regulated side than others in cities such as Las Vegas.
The websites that advertise escorts, however, are both plentiful and graphic. They range from ones that advertise for a specific agency to ones that are more aggregators and offer prospective johns a wide variety across a large number of the city’s agencies.
While the New York City page of Craigslist no longer has adult services available, a simple Google search provides plenty of alternatives; many of which might be more useful to the potential customer. The question, then, is to what effect will the Craigslist adult services crackdown have in New York City. The answer appears to be “little”.Source: Staff, “Your Post-Craigslist Guide to Buying Sex Online”, gawker.com